Australian technology company Urbanise has signed a 10-year agreement with Prudential Investment Company of Australia Pty Ltd Group (PICA Group) to modernise the group's strata management systems around the country.

PICA Group will pilot Urbanise’s remote asset monitoring sensor technology at a 5,000-lot community in Sydney, as part of the agreement.

Urbanise’s asset monitoring platform supports sensors attached to building assets such as air conditioning units, electrical switchboards, and water and gas systems to provide building managers with a real-time view of the state of their building’s assets.

It is also capable of providing alerts when systems become faulty, and send notifications out to contractors to schedule and perform repairs.

Urbanise CEO Ben Churchill spoke to IoT Hub about how the Internet of Things can transform the way buildings are managed.

“The smart way of managing an air conditioning unit, for example, is to deploy a sensor that’s low-cost on the unit to detect whether it’s performing at its optimum,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean you don’t do all the checks, but if you were able to remove the need for a monthly inspection, you could significantly reduce the cost [of maintenance.”

However, he isn’t interested in collecting data from sensors simply to display it on a “pretty dashboard”.

Churchill explained that a truly connected platform has the ability to detect a fault in a piece of equipment, automatically raise a service ticket to the appropriate contractor, monitor the progress of the repair, and keep a record of its completion.

“I’m interested in what you do with the information from a sensor – it’s about service, and facilitating that service,” he said.

Churchill said it was vital that building management platforms facilitate a required action, not just present data.

“What we’re moving towards is predictive analytics which says ‘which building in this condition of this type is likely to do this with X amount of certainty?’,” he said.

“When we can start mining that data, we can help building managers make better investment decisions about their assets.”

Churchill added that benchmarking is also important to allow comparisons between buildings, identify differences in behaviours and determine the root causes of these variations.

IoT-based building management across PICA’s portfolio

Worth $16 million, the deal will allow PICA Group to use Urbanise’s Industry Cloud strata module to manage its portfolio of more than 200,000 lots.

PICA Group already operates 15 well-known strata management brands, including Body Corporate Services (BCS), Mason and Brophy, NSW Strata, Dynamic Property Services, GK Strata, and Strata 3 across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Using the shared property services platform, the two companies will deliver an expanded range of property-related solutions, including facilities management, repairs and maintenance services to PICA Group’s client base of over 350,000 tenants.

The platform will provide solutions for property owners such as self-service web portals and mobile apps.

According to the two companies, the goal of the agreement is to enable strata management professionals the means to outsource their back office financial and technical operations to improve efficiencies.

Greg Nash, PICA managing director and Group CEO, said: “The [Urbanise] platform’s scalability and technology roadmap aligns with our vision for the broader strata industry. Cloud-based solutions will become fundamental to professionalising strata service delivery in the future.”

Urbanise’s global head of strata David Bugden added: “This platform will enable PICA to enhance customer service levels, optimise workflows and introduce new services to their growing customer base, and we are delighted that PICA has partnered with us to transform the domestic and international strata market.”